Future of Voluntary Law, Social Promises, Voluntary Law

A Promising Chaos


It is not in the least bit presumptuous to design a new legal system based in personal self-sovereignty and mutual benefit, for peacefully out-competing and thus, replacing all legal systems based in privilege and oppression.  There is no presumption being made about the future.  The future of a chaotic system is unpredictable, because the granularity of knowledge about the system’s present state is always coarser than the granularity of the differences that can lead to divergent outcomes.  In other words, we can never know perfectly where we are going, because we can never know perfectly where we are.  Certainly, human society is a chaotic system, full of uncertainty and tumult.  We can design the new legal system to fulfill all our design objectives given all factors we know of, but cannot know whether, or how, the design will be implemented.

What we strive for is the most optimal design, given what we know, without any presumption of destiny.  In that spirit of optimizing the design, we propose phrasing voluntary laws in accordance with their intended effect.  That is, as personal promises to accept a certain consequence “B” in the event one commits a certain act “A.” So for example “The penalty for a slap in the face shall be two counter-slaps” becomes, in promise-based law:”If I slap you in the face, I promise I will let you slap me back twice, unless my slap was justified by proportional self-defense.”  This is a silly example, of course, but illustrates the point:  voluntary laws are essentially socially directed, personally made promises to other society members.  For example, some voluntary laws are social promises to provide no less than a specified remedy for specified wrongs, subject to certain defenses.  Application of TROTWET ensures that voluntary laws are in fact social promises.  It is helpful to the people who must understand and implement their own laws, if the laws are phrased in a way that more naturally aligns with their ordinary meaning, and does not obviously implicate revolutionary consequences.

This is the thinking behind VLDA’s pivot to “social promises” and “social promise societies” as better terminology for engaging the general public.  “Voluntary law,” with its revolutionary overtones, will not be discarded, but reserved mainly for the smoky back rooms where the socially aware exchange ideas, such as places like this blog.  And perhaps for discussing reforms in state laws.

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Image credit to Robbi Robbins (Brilliant Hues)

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